Erie Officer Terminated Following Racist Email
Mayor Joe Schember announced the removal of Jeff Annunziata in a recent press conference
Detailed In an article published on GoErie.com on Thursday, June 18, Jeff Annunziata, chief Traffic Investigator with the Erie Police sent an email to Mayor Joe Schember, along with several members of the Erie Times-News staff. The email was sent at 7 p.m. Monday, June 15, with the article coming out at 12:01 p.m. on Thursday.
Later that day, Erie Mayor Joe Schember conducted a press conference at 6 p.m., stating that "Sergeant Jeff Annunziata of the City of Erie Police Department sent an email to members of the media containing racist and derogatory statements and assertions." He went on to say that "I condemn these statements. I am appalled and disgusted by the racial insensitivity of his email. This kind of prejudice has no place within the Erie police department or within the city of Erie. We will not tolerate discrimination or racism. As mayor of the city of Erie, I am terminating the employment ofJeff Annunziata as an Erie police officer."
"I have been vocal about our vision to create a community of choice that is welcoming and celebrates our rich cultural diversity," Schember continued. Everything that we have done, has been focused on achieving that vision. We have been working hard to build relationships in the community, and to heal the deep scars of racism and prejudice. The views and language expressed in the email diminishes the trust between the police and the community at a time when that trust and partnership is critically needed."
City of Erie Police Chief Dan Spizarny stated "I speak for the command staff when I say that we are all sickened by the language of Mr. Annunziata. We took an oath to protect and serve. Mr.Annunziata's language should not be construed as to reflect the rest of the Erie police department." He continued, explaining that "upon discovering email, I directed internal affairs inspector to perform an internal investigation. Our investigation confirmed that he sent the email that he sent it from a City of Erie email account. And that within his email, he identified himself as a police officer, I immediately suspend it, Mr. Annunziata." Spizarny clarified that "though our country was founded with the long-standing principle of freedom of speech. The city of Erie police cannot and will not allow taxpayer money to be used to spread hatred and bigotry." Mr. Annunziata's views are not reflective of the Erie Police Department. His actions, including sending this email, warrants immediate termination. The Erie Police Department recognizes that public trust and confidence in the police is critical to performing effective policing, and is achieved through fair and equitable treatment of the public."
Below is the unedited text of Annunziata's email, according to GoErie.com: